My life is complicated. I am the half-human child of an Archangel who is the Angel of Death. And this; this is my story. This is the truth that most of you will not believe.
Every day I fight my demons. I’ve long since come to the realization, the rationalization I’m not perfect and that it is ok. I’m not a robot. I am flawed. I am at war with these demons of mine. The ones that haunt me and the ones that hunt me. I have internal demons, mommy and daddy issues that I’m working through. And external demons, the ones that walk the earth. Fighting those demons helps me to relieve my stress. The stress the other demons cause. There were times when I was younger I wished I was normal, just a regular little girl. But no longer. I’ve come to embrace who I am, what I am, and the power that I wield.
My name is Raignai Jariel pronounced Ray-nigh Jar-e-el. My friends and family, of whom there are very few, they call me Rain. My birth father, he calls me by the name he gave me, Athena. I am a half-human half-angel female born on this earth. They just don’t make them like me. I am the child of an Archangel, God’s elite warriors, the progeny of the Archangel Azrael and my human mother, the beautiful Ameila. The child of an angel that himself disobeyed a direct order from God when he fell in love with a human woman. And for that sin we were both punished he and I.
I am not the first half-human half-angel to walk this earth. I may not even be the only one walking this earth right now though that’s all conjecture. All those stories you’ve read about gods, the Titans, Zeus etc., and their half-blood children, the so-called demigods. Ever wonder where the truth behind those stories lay. They had to come from somewhere. Those truths are my story. The stories about immortals I’m sure you have all heard about, seen on your tv screens and movie theatres and wondered if they were true or if they at least had some element of truth to them. Well I am true. I am here. I am the walking, breathing personification of those stories without the writer’s hyperbole. Unlike the stories I am not immortal. I can be killed. And one day I will die. The human flesh side of me will not live on forever. My father says I will live for many, many millennia though unless the unfortunate happens and I meet an untimely demise. Being half angel does have it perks. I age but I do not age like my human half do. The older I get the slower I age. I heal almost immediately, comic book Wolverine-like. I can move twice as fast as any animal on the planet with reflexes any beast of prey would be jealous of. My senses are infinitely more sensitive than any human. I have the ability to not be seen by any camera or mirror if I so choose. But I am still human even if only by half. I am bound by this flesh. I can only take it to its maximum potential. A potential you wouldn’t believe.
I’ve also been blessed with some angelic gifts. Gifts some would call a curse. I guess it all depends on your perspective. I have the ability to read minds. More precisely I have the ability to know your thoughts. Those things you buried you don’t want to ever see the light of day. I can see those hidden and masked impulses. I can see your hopes and dreams, your nightmares, your wants and your desires. I know your highs but I also know your lows. I can almost feel your pain. Like my father I am able to remove a man’s soul from his body and send it to the afterlife. I can and will and do send demons to hell. That is my gift. But the removal of one’s soul, said in different more direct words, I cause death by a simple touch. And that is my curse. The curse placed upon me by the sins of my father, my burden for his mistake. For this is not something I can turn off and on. And for that reason I will never know the touch of another nor their intimacy. For that reason I cannot touch you and you cannot touch me or you will surely die.
This is my life. This is my journey. This is my gift. This is my curse. This is who I am.
I am no writer. This forward was written by me, Rain. The story that follows is pieces of a chapter in the story of my life so far. The words that follow were written by the angel whom has come to be known as Heaven’s chief scribe Metatron. Although many of you will still not believe. To you this will just be a story.
She stood there a bloody mess, frozen as she caught a chance glance at him turning the corner. She was too old for it to be a teenage crush and too young for it to be the man of her dreams. Yet there he stood as gorgeous as she remembered. Without hesitation he walked right over to her, in his mind to offer his assistance. As he drew near she gathered her thoughts trying to decide what words to use. As he drew close she raised her left hand and told the young man to stop. She just told the guy she has had dreams about to stop moving towards her.
“Please stop, stay right there, don’t come any closer” she said.
“I just wanted to see if you’re ok. You have blood all over you” he said. “It looks likes you were in shock.”
“I’m ok” she replied.
“But nothing” she insisted in an strong tone. “I’m fine. That’s not my blood.”
“If it’s not your blood then whose is it?” he asked not believing the words she spoke. “You look like you’ve been attacked.”
She lowered her head resolute in the understanding of the words she was about to speak. “I was attacked. And the blood is not mines. And it’s not blood. It is the death of those who attacked me” she said as from behind her back she pulled out her sword which dripping with fluid. She flicked her wrist and flung it off her sword.
“They must have deserved it” he said somehow knowing the young lady he was talking to was not in the wrong.
She smiled. “They did. Even though they are not what you think they are.”
Ever the astute listener the young man asked “Don’t you mean who I think they are?”
“No. I mean what. And you, you’re not safe around here right now. You need to go home.”
“I think I’m safer here than you are.”
“You know not what you’re speaking of. You know not what haunts and hunts out there. And those that attacked me are not alone.”
“Why are you talking like that? And what are you talking about? There’s nothing out here except you and me.”
”As much as this pains me to say this” she said as she wished this was not their first interaction. “But you need to go, get as far away from here and as far away from me in this moment as possible.”
“You see that’s it right there. You want me gone. That’s all you had to say.”
“That’s not it at all.”
“Then what is it?” he said as he stepped closer to her reaching out his hand towards her shoulder.
She again stepped away from him. “Please do not do that.”
“Do not touch me.”
“I was only going to check on your wounds. Make sure you’re ok. But I won’t. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you” he said as he backed away.
“It’s not what you think” she said as a flood of emotions ran through her mind and body.
“Then what is it?” he said calmly, not irritated as others would surely be in this same circumstance.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” she asked.
“Ummm, why is all the blood on you turning black and starting to smoke?” he asked in return.
She looked down at her sword and the traces of blood it was soaked in was now pitch black and seemed to be evaporating as it rose from not only her sword but off of her also.
“I wish I could stay. I wish I could explain” she said as her heart started to beat faster and faster. The guy she always wanted to ask her out was standing right in front of her and she was about to do what her brain said was necessary but what her heart wanted the complete opposite of.
“Sorry. I’m so sorry” she said as she backpedaled away from the young man. She took a few more steps backwards then turned and ran away leaving him standing there alone in the moonlight.
As he stood there confused and expressionless the the young female awoke suddenly from her dream. Wanting to cry, remembering the sights of the dream she just dreamt she couldn’t. No tears would fall from her eyes. She all too well knew the truth. Instead she got up out the bed and dressed herself. She grabbed her music device and strapped it to her arm. She pulled on a hoodie over her head, left her house and went for a run. Not long after she left the comfort of her home she could hear their silent footsteps following her.
Chapter One – Let it Rain
The dichotomy is striking. Chestnut Hill is an upper middle class neighborhood tucked into the northwest corner of Philadelphia. It’s a relatively quiet neighborhood, strikingly different than the metropolitan city it sits on the edge of. A boisterous city of one and a half million diverse individuals that’s always alive. It’s a neighborhood where everyone minds their business and keeps to themselves so it’s an easy place for Rain to blend in seamlessly. It is 1:38 in the morning and this quiet unexpecting neighborhood does not have an inkling of what it has been infected with. This night the freaks won’t come out for even they are afraid of what else lurks in the darkness. Surrounded by large houses, immaculately manicured lawns, and expensive SUVs Rain carefully walks down the sidewalk of a long winding street moving with the silence of a content newborn the moment before hunger strikes and the veil of silence is pierced. She puts her earbuds in her ears and pulls the hood from her sweatshirt over her head as she prepares for what awaits her, because she knows all too well what lies ahead. As Rain continues walking down the narrow street towards the tranquility that normally resides in nature, towards a normally serene wooded park she scrolls through the eclectic list of music she has stored on the device in her hand. She can’t decide on which of two songs to play. It’s either Staind’s Outside or New Edition’s Can You Stand the Rain. That’s the mood she’s in. She’s a little all over the place, anxious for what comes calling her. It is a calm night. No clouds are in the sky. One could see the half moon illuminating the night’s stars with ease. Rain hears the familiar sound of the rustling of the wind through the trees though there is no breeze. This is what she was moving towards and it is not coming anymore, they are here. She realizes the time is now so she looks down at the device strapped to her arm and presses play on whatever song was in front of her. Staind is what is on the screen so Staind it is. Outside begins to play through the tiny speakers in her ears. She pulls her sleeve down over her arm and the device strapped to it in preparation for what’s to come.
Rain, as she walked into the woods was cleverly drawing these things away from Chestnut Hill. Away from its homes and their residents and their dogs and cats and into the seclusion of the nearby woods. She knew a fight in the middle of the night, in the middle of one of these residential blocks would not be a good idea. She knew these residents were not ready for what they might see. Too many of their minds wouldn’t be able to fathom or decipher the visual taking place in front of them. She knew a few minds might even break from what they would see, afraid to believe. But thankfully they always make it easy for Rain to avoid that from happening. These things are nothing if not repetitive and predictable so it was a simple feat to get them to follow her in there, into the woods and away from unsuspecting eyes. Always in the dark, these things they love their back alleys, abandoned buildings, and dark woods. And they have this thing for her, a bloodlust. Rain has an extraordinarily high price on her head and the price has nothing to do with money. These things that hunt her, they have no use for money or material trappings. But what they do have use for is her death and destruction. Each one believes if it can kill her and send her to hell she will take their place and they will be free to walk the earth in her stead. They believe by killing the half-angel that walks the earth it will free them from the trap they have been stuck in ever since their disastrous mutiny in Heaven failed and it will give them a new life, an almost eternal life. One from which they cannot be returned to hell. That is why she is their number one target.
As Rain walks down Valley Green Road away from the sleeping residents and towards the woods she can feel their stare on her. She picks up the pace to a light jog so they won’t think she knows they are there. Hopeful there won’t be some unlucky soul who couldn’t sleep out for a midnight run on the park trail or some love struck teens that snuck out the house to meet in the seclusion of the woods. People whose eyes, heart, and/or mind might not be ready for what they would see. One thing Rain learned early on is everyone is not ready for the truth no matter how beautiful or ugly the truth may be. Rain keeps jogging until she gets to a secluded area of the park about a quarter of a mile in. She scans her surroundings to make sure they are no people around who could turn into innocent bystanders and become collateral damage. The area is clear.
“OK. You can come out now” she says to the things hiding in the shadows of the trees as the music is still playing in her ears on repeat. She stands in an opening surrounded by trees on one side and a large creek on the other as the creatures emerge from the shadows.
Five creatures step out of the tree line and move towards Rain. There stand five demons, hell spawn. Each has a brooding human-like shape. Out of their backs hang dark grayish black bat-like wings that when expanded could cover eight feet in width, worn and battered with pieces missing and holes through them though some if not all of them still look they might be able to fly. They have jet black eyes that hold no fear and grayish-black flesh that resembles burnt charcoal ash more than anything else.
Rain eyes the demonic creatures now attempting to surround her.
Approximately one hundred yards on the opposite side of the five demons, two more figures step out of the darkness to get a better view. Both figures look like normal humans except for the bigger of the two who also has jet black eyes. The same jet black eyes he shares in common with his demon brethren who are slowly surrounding Rain. The smaller of the two figures looks to be a regular human though sometimes looks can be deceiving.
Rain sees the two figures in the distance in her peripheral vision as she’s turning tracking the demons but they have her immediate focus, they are the problem she has directly in front of her. She unsheathes her sword from the scabbard on her back, never looking at the sword, never taking her eye off the five demons encircling her. Her eyes dart from one demon to the next, sizing them up as she unconsciously runs through her training deciphering the best way to kill all five demons. ‘Only five’ she thinks to herself. ‘Either they do not know who I am or they are just plain stupid.’
Still standing away from the fight that is about to ensue the bigger of the two figures whispers something to the other. The second smaller figure, who is dressed in a preistai’s robe under his pea coat pulls his glasses over his eyes, says ok, then steps back into the darkness and disappears into the woods. The bigger figure just stands there with his arms crossed and watches. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t say another word. He just watches like a fighter would watch an upcoming opponent, intent on trying to learn tendencies, watching every step, every movement. He’s studying the ballet of the pre-combat that is occurring and the fight that is about to begin.
Rain raises her sword into a defensive position. She slowly turns in place cautiously watching each demon. As she turns the demon to her far right feels it is in her blind spot and thinks this is a perfect time to attack. It rushes towards her in a blur. Rain while staring at the demon to her far left lowers her sword and reverses the blade while still maintaining eye contact with the other four demons. With both hands she thrusts her sword behind her to the left of her own hip stabbing the oncoming demon through the right side of what maybe at some point was its stomach. Caught off guard by the sword strike it never saw the demon froze when it was pierced open. Rain withdrew her sword from the demon. Quickly, without pause she pirouettes and beheads the demon with one clean stroke. As the demon’s head is falling, before it even had a chance to hit the ground both the demon and its head evaporate into black smoke. One down, four demons intent on killing Rain with dreams of walking the earth freely to go.
The remaining four demons look at each other waiting for one of them to make a move on Rain. She senses their hesitancy so she decides to go on the offensive. Rain runs straight ahead at the closest demon attacking it before it could react as its head was still turned looking at the other demons waiting for a moment that never came. She stabs the demon in its head right through its left eye. Rain, while still holding her sword jumps over the demon rotating the sword vertically slicing the demons head in half. Its head slowly fell apart, split all the way down to its shoulders. The demon stood there with its head split like an open book for a few seconds before the head started to close from the bottom and heal itself. Rain didn’t wait for that to happen. She spun and sliced its head off. As with the previous, this demon never even had a chance to fall to the ground. It evaporated just as the first into black smoke.
Rain, no longer being circled by the demons, turns to face the remaining three who are all standing on one side of her. She has her back to the figure with the demon eyes off in the distance standing still, just watching. She brings her sword back up to a defensive position and adapts a defensive posture. The three demons are now acting more cautiously and take a few steps away from Rain. “Attack, No mercy for this trivial child” shouts the figure from behind Rain whose voice seemed to echo many voices from off in the distance.
Two of the three demons heard and acted on what was said as if the figure was their boss while the other heard yet didn’t move. The first demon to reach Rain approached her fast and recklessly. It immediately had its head cut off with one swing of her sword. The second demon, as it got close to Rain tried in vain to tackle her. She sidestepped its attempt and slashed the demon on its side. The demon fell to the ground injured but not vanquished. As the demon tried to stand Rain quickly put her foot on its head dropping it back down to the ground. She swiftly beheaded the demon at the neck causing black smoke to rise all around her. There was one demon left and self-preservation kicked in. It wanted to run. Rain could see it. She could see the fear in its black eyes as they moved, darted around looking for an escape route. Before it ran away the demon looked over at the figure off in the distance. The figure said nothing and didn’t flinch. The demon turned its attention quickly back to Rain. The demon was more afraid of whoever or whatever that figure was than it was of Rain.
The remaining demon opened its wings and hissed at Rain like a venomous snake trying to show its dominance. Rain, too far away to strike the demon slowly inched ever so gingerly toward it, gliding from step to step not afraid of the show of force the demon tried to exercise by unfolding its wings. The demon charged at Rain, took a few steps then flapped it wings and flew like a bullet towards her. For Rain all this seemed to be happening in slow motion. This was not her first nor will this be her last fight with demons. Rain watched and waited for the demon to get close. As the demon was in striking range she deftly slipped its attack ducking under the strike of the flying demon. As the demon flew by she arose on its other side, slashed her sword and cut off one of the demons wings causing it to crash to the ground. The demon jumped up quickly. As it stood there it turned its head to look at the stump left from where its wing should have been and laughed. It was a loud screeching laugh, half laughter and half full of pain that would have made the hairs of a regular human straighten up. The demon looked at his wing on the ground as it crumbled apart and turned to black smoke just as another wing was growing from its back to replace the one Rain cut off.
“Nice Trick” she says. “Old, but still a nice trick. I like it.”
The demon once again looked at the figure off in the distance. The figure just stood there. The demon turned its attention back to Rain. Unimpressed at Rain’s words and fearful of whatever the true nature of that figure was the demon rushed Rain again. This time it attacked on the ground with its claws extended trying to slice Rain to pieces. Rain slipped the attack as the demon clawed at her. As she evaded the last attempt she slashed her sword. The demon ducked out of the way of the first swing but couldn’t escape the second. Rain cut off the demon’s right hand and the top half of the right wing.
The demon stepped back out of Rain’s attack reach. It watched as its hand and wing grew back. Rain did not flinch at the sight. She smiled at the demon which didn’t recognize it was being toyed with.
The demon for a third time rushed at Rain. As it got closer to her, Rain started to run towards the oncoming demon. Once she was within a few feet of the demon she somersaulted over it. The demon, not sure of what just happened looked up as Rain was flying through the air and turned around to see Rain land. Oblivious to Rain’s actions and watching more in awe than as an combatant the demon never noticed Rain throw her sword at it while she was in mid-air. As the demon turned and Rain landed her sword struck the demon and sliced through the right side of its face leaving a large gash which was already healing. As the demon started to laugh at Rain again she rushed toward it at full speed. Just as the demon thought Rain was going to attack the demon tried to counter a blow that didn’t come. As the demon threw its clawed hand Rain slid underneath of it, between the demon’s legs. She popped right up two feet behind the demon and grabbed her sword which had become lodged in the bottom of the tree directly behind the demon. In one smooth motion before the demon could react she snatched her sword out of the tree, swung it and cut off the demon’s head. The strike was so quick and so clean the demon’s body took a few steps before it caught up to the fact its head was gone. As the demon’s body took its last step, as the severed head rolled on the ground, both the demon body and head evaporated into black smoke like his four brethren had moments before.
“Congratulations daughter of angel scum” said the bigger figure who had been watching the fight in its entirety from the safety of the distance of the opposite tree line while giving Rain an insincere round of applause. Again its voice echoed as if there were multiple voices saying the words yet there was only one figure standing there.
Rain removed the hood from her head then the earbuds from her ears and laid them on her shoulders. She never stopped the music so it was still playing through the speakers. It only took Rain about half a song to kill the five demons once the fight actually started. “And you are” she asks the figure.
“We are Legion” it says. “And we’ve been looking for you.”
“Well you’ve found me. All of you. I hope you enjoyed the show Legion” said Rain as she scanned the area around her.
“Half-breed the show was entertaining and somewhat insightful. I see you looking around but we are alone out here now and unlike those you faced already we will kill you where you stand.”
Rain cracked a smirk at the hubris of the demon now standing in front of her but smartly standing some distance away. “I see you know who I am and I see you choose not to get too close” she said. “So go ahead and try, please do. Please try and kill me and I’ll send you back to the fiery pit you came from. All two thousand of you filthy demons.”
“Ahhhh, we see you know who we are also.”
“I’ve heard the tales. Legion. Two thousand demons that were left so weak after the failed coup attempt of Heaven that they were unable to take a body of their own so they banded together to steal and inhabit a human host. You got stronger over the years but for whatever reason decided to stay together. Strength in numbers I guess. But ultimately you are still just a putrid beast and a bunch of sniveling cowardly demons.”
“Petulant girl, we see what you lack in brains, you make up for in attitude, very charming. But charming is for first dates to the movies. And we don’t see any screens around here do we. You cannot defeat we. Many have tried and have failed. Maybe we will wear your skin next little girl.” Legion smiled at the thought of wearing Rain’s skin and infesting her body. “And you think you can defeat us.” Legion bursts out in loud boisterous laughter. It sounds like all two thousand demons possessing that body are laughing at once in unison.
“I will send you back to hell like I sent your friends” replied Rain.
“They were nothing but pawns on this chess board. Easy to kill, easily sacrificed to test the skill of the opponent.”
“And you are the king?”
“No, I’m more like a knight. Much harder to trap and kill then a king. Come and get me if you so desire daughter of Azrael.”
There is no laughter from Rain this time.